I have been thinking about this for a few hours now, about what I should write about for my 50th post because I think 50 posts is a milestone and worth putting some special effort into. Do I write a blog, once again thanking everyone for the support, inspiration, and wonderful memories made thus far? Do I write a poem? What do I do? What should I share??
I was looking through old files and found a book I’d started nearly two years ago. I was going to initially delete it without looking at it, but curiosity got the best of me and I decided to see what one remaining project I had left, that I did not ditch. I have tried for years to write books, but usually I get distracted and never come back to them. This is one of the reasons poetry is best for me, no real commitments, rarely do they take me long to write once inspired to write one.
I am glad though that this time I did not pitch it with the rest of my forgotten ideas. I am going to share with you what I’d written nearly two years ago. Let me know what you think, is it worth holding onto? Would you upon reading this want to read more? I want to hear your opinions. In the end, the decision is mine, this I know. I still am curious to see what you guys and dolls think, so without further ado, here we go…
Sometimes the line between dreams and reality is blurred and your mind has a difficult time telling the difference between the two. When this happens, it might be because your mind is just overworked and overloaded. Sometimes, it might be because you want something so badly that you let your mind distort the truth. For whatever reason, it does happen. They say that dreams can become reality, if one works hard enough for what they want. This is true sometimes, though there are times that no matter how hard you try to make something happen, it will still elude you. But don’t let me bring you down here, like I said, sometimes dreams can become reality. To do this, one must set goals in place and go for what they want with everything they have. They say good things come to those who wait, perhaps, but one must also not sit idly by simply waiting and never doing anything to achieve their goals. I believe it is a combination of both actively doing and then also patiently waiting, one just needs to know how to balance out the two. I think much of life is like that, a balancing act. How does one balance their dreams and reality, I wonder? Does one ever know? Life is pretty much trial and error and then you start anew each day. Soon, today will be over and tomorrow will begin. What will it bring, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
The day started out like any other day, me awaking to the sun beaming into my eyes and then me throwing the blanket over my face in the futile attempt at going back to sleep. After about 10 minutes of rolling over and trying to fall back asleep, I realize I am not going to get any more rest. So, grudgingly I rub my eyes and sit up in bed. I look around my room and everything seems the same as usual and this is the problem I have with life these days, everything is the same day in and day out. I wake up alone in bed every morning and look around to see the same light blue curtains on my windows, put on the same light blue and white robe, trudge across the same light blue carpeting to the kitchen to drink the same coffee from the same heather gray ceramic mug that I have had for years, go to the same job that now feels more like an obligation I must take care of simply as a means to stay alive, come home and eat alone, do the dishes, watch the same shows, read, get ready for bed, pray, and go to sleep alone. As I sit there reflecting my predictable life, I wonder what I can do to change things. Life has been this way for so long that I don’t even know where to begin. I wipe the hair off my cheek and sigh. I know I need changes, but what? I get out of bed and decide to skip putting on my robe and head straight downstairs to the kitchen. Well, that was a change, right? Sometimes one must start small, I suppose.
Though my life is predictable now, it wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, my life was so hectic and full of spontaneity. Sometimes that made my life exciting and fun, but sometimes it made my life stressful and full of drama. I can say one thing though; my life was rarely dull. I wouldn’t say that my life is bad now, but it’s boring and lonely. I need to spice my life up again; I just don’t know where to start. I remember a time when I was constantly doing something, a time when I so desired to try new things. Around every corner were new experiences, new faces, and I just never knew what my day would bring me until it happened. Of course, I still concentrated on the familiar faces and doing the things I have loved for years, but there seemed to be a healthy balance. That is what I need to do, find that balance again. But how do you find it once you have lost it? Standing here in my kitchen, I stare at these four walls thinking maybe I could start with some new colors in the house. Maybe getting some new stuff for the house and blending it with some of the old would be a step in the right direction. And maybe it’s time to go out to some of my old hangouts, it sure has been awhile since I have done anything besides go to work, church, and the occasional tea date with a few of my friends.
Work has become a place I hate to go, when once it was a place I actually liked. I have lost the desire to draw, but part of that is that when I started working there, I thought I’d be able to share my ideas and come up with fresh new designs. But, it wasn’t long before I found that they basically wanted cookie cutter designs. They stifled my creativity, but I let them. It pays well, so I told myself that I would stay there till I could find something better, but I never really tried to find something else. It paid the bills and at that time, we had a lot on our plates. We, heh, yeah. There once was a we, before things went horribly wrong.
Once upon a time, I had everything going for me. I had a wonderful husband, a great relationship with my sons, a career I thought was promising, a home I loved spending time in because it was filled with so much love, and just so much joy that I thought my heart would overflow onto the streets. Life was once pretty wonderful. I remember a time when life was far from wonderful; in fact, I was pretty depressed and angry. And then, things started to look up for me. I was about to graduate from college; my sons were two and five at the time. I was offered a job even before I put on my cap and gown, I jumped at it. This would be the way to get me out of debt and finally be able to really take care of my sons. I was so full of hope; life was beginning to turn around. But, it was about to get even better.
I was at my friend’s baby shower, of all places, when I met a man who would forever change my life. He was my friend’s brother-in-law and was roped into coming somehow by her husband, Dan. I think Dan figured if he had to suffer through all the girl stuff, he needed some company. It makes me giggle just remembering Dan’s face when we were playing guess what’s in the diaper game. I remember going to get some more soda and the handsome guy I’d noticed was at the table; he had a far away look on his face. I was so lost in the expression on his face that when I was pouring my drink; I accidentally spilled it on his hand that was resting on the table. He looked up and I am sure I blushed a million shades of red, then I apologized. He smiled and it was over. He told me not to worry about it and helped me clean up my mess. I smiled and then offered my hand to introduce myself.
“Thanks for helping me and sorry again. I am not usually like that. My name is Victoria by the way, most people just call me Tori.”
He took my hand, “I remember you. I have seen you at Taylor’s little league games a few times before. Doesn’t he play with your son?” he smiled that dazzling smile.
“Yeah, Brady and Taylor love being on the team together. I love watching them, they get so into it.” I was shocked that he remembered me, but I simply couldn’t remember seeing this handsome man before. How could I not remember him?
“They certainly do, I think Brady has quite an arm. You might just have the next Babe Ruth on your hands.” He laughed.
“Wouldn’t that be something?” I smiled.
I love watching my son on the baseball diamond, he just lights up. From the time he was old enough to hold a bat, he fell in love with baseball.
“Tori?” he said waving his hand in front of my face.
“Huh? Oh sorry, just tuned out for a moment. I was just thinking about how much Brady loves baseball. Devan isn’t really into sports at this point, but he does get excited when Brady scores. He yells, “Homewun, Bwady!”
“That’s cute. Oh sorry for being rude, by the way. Since were never properly introduced, my name is Adam.” he held out his hand and smiled that amazing smile.
“Nice to meet you, Adam.” I smiled, trying to stay calm.
“The pleasure is all mine,” he said, still smiling.
And from that day on, we were inseparable. I don’t know what it was, but the fire between us was instant and it grew into the strongest of flames. We both knew it right away; this was it for the both of us. It wasn’t long before he proposed. Some people were shocked and wondered if we were rushing it, but others seemed to see what he and I both did, a never-ending love. Could life possibly get any better? My life was turning into the fairytale I thought I’d never have. I just wish I’d known how short lived it would all be. But, even if I had known what would happen, I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t take back the times we all spent together as a family, not for all the money in the world.
At least I can say that I was happy for a time, perhaps happier than I had a right to be. Not everyone gets the chance to have the kind of joy I had. Something I learned a long time ago is that you should take the good with the bad and learn from each experience. It’s easier for me to think that way again. While things were falling apart, I certainly didn’t have that point of view. But now, I look at the past and perhaps now I am able to make peace with everything that’s happened. It’s been a couple of years since everything happened, since we lost Amelie and since Adam left. I think I’m done living in this comfortably numb state of mine.
Wandering out into the backyard, the first thing I see is the treehouse Adam built for Brady and Devan. I haven’t taken a real good look at it in a long time; it had just been too difficult. But, then there are so many reminders around here of our time together. But most of them I have been able to ignore, I had made myself immune to the power of memories. Seeing the treehouse now just opened the floodgates. Adam used to push the boys in the tire swing and we used to make Sunday afternoon picnics after church, it was a ritual for us. I can still see the joy in his eyes when he played with the boys, the love in his eyes when he looked at me. How did it all go wrong? Oh yeah, I pushed him and everyone else out of my life. Losing Amelie was hard on all of us, but I totally lost it. Something snapped inside me and I lost touch with reality. Adam and everyone really tried to help me, but I guess there’s only so much a person can take before they have to walk away. I can still remember the exact look on his face and the words he said when he left.
“Tori?” he’d said with a note of concern in his voice.
I remember just staring straight-ahead, not saying anything. Pain had really taken everything out of me; I had just given up on everything and everyone. I lost faith and I lost myself.
“Tori?” came that concerned voice once more.
I looked at briefly and then went back to staring straight ahead. He sighed and got up, walked upstairs and then I heard him cry. I had no energy to go and comfort my husband; I didn’t even have the energy to take care of myself. I don’t remember how long he was up there, but eventually he came back down with a tired look on his face. He looked like a broken man; a man that I broke but just didn’t know how to make things right for him, for me, for my boys, for anyone.
“Tori, I am just going to come right out and say it. I love you with all of my heart, but I can’t do this anymore. I can’t live like this; it’s just too much. I have tried everything I can to get through to you, to try and help you. I am at a loss; there’s just no reaching you. And, I want you to know that I am not angry. I understand, more than you know. Losing Amelie cut me like a knife too. I still miss her, every single day she is in my thoughts. But, life goes on around us and I am tired of not living it. I am tired of letting this pain rule over everything. I want to move forward, I want you to move forward, but you’re stuck in the past. I want us to get through this, but I can’t think of anything else to do to help you, to help us. I am going to go stay with Dan and Kelly for awhile, you know how to find me if and when you’re ready to move forward. I will be praying for you every single day. I hope that you find your way back to us, but most importantly back to yourself. Amelie will live in our hearts forever, no one expects you to forget. But, I do hope that you find a way to heal. I miss your smile, your laugh, and your energy. I miss you. I love you, never forget that. I will be here when you’re ready to come back to us.” he gently kissed the top of my head, picked up my hand that was resting on my lap to squeeze it. I didn’t squeeze back, I should have. I should have found even an ounce of strength to squeeze his hand back. After a moment, he sighed and let my hand go which fell limp back into my lap. He looked at me with tears in his eyes, walked to the door, turned to look at me one more time and then he was gone.
Reliving that day sent a jolt down my spine. It’s taking every ounce of strength not to fall to the floor in tears. In that moment, my marriage fell apart. He’d tried suggesting therapy and marriage counseling, but I didn’t have much of a response. He’d tried provoking me just so I’d react; any reaction would have been better than nothing. But after six months, he gave up. He didn’t bother to file for divorce, but he did stop calling and stopping by. In that time, my sons went to live with their father. I didn’t fight him when he tried taking them from me this time, because I knew it was the best thing for them. For once, Brandon and I agreed that he was what was best for Brady and Devan. When they first left, they tried staying in touch with me. But, I didn’t have much to say to them either. I just didn’t have anything to say to anyone, except at work. For some reason, I still went to work each day and buried myself in each tedious project. For once, I didn’t mind doing the mindless designs they requested of me. It was what I needed to keep me from going completely mad. It really is a wonder I didn’t lose my job or my house. I am not sure when or how, but the pain did start to lessen and I was able to start going back to church again. And then I started talking to a few women from my old bowling league, we started to have tea once a month just to catch up and have girl time.
Looking at myself now, I see that I had started to heal, but I am still not healthy. I wonder if it’s too late to mend the damage I’ve done to Adam, to my sons, to everyone around me. I haven’t seen or talked to Adam in roughly a year and a half. But, Kelly said he’d moved out a year ago, into an apartment. She and Dan have talked about Adam once in awhile, probably knowing deep down that I wanted to know how he was doing. From what I know, he’s doing all right. He’s still running the shop and helping Dan with side projects. He hasn’t dated, hasn’t had the desire to, though he doesn’t seem lost without me anymore either. I have been torn about that. I don’t want him to be miserable, especially over me. Knowing the pain I have caused him hurts something awful. But then, does him being okay mean he’s over me now? Are we truly over? I need to find out, but I am scared. What will I find out when I ask? Does he still love me? Has he moved on?
I wipe the tears out of my eyes and straighten my shoulders and turn back towards the house. I need to find out, one way or another; I need to know because I can’t really move forward with my life till I know where Adam and I stand. I also need to call Brandon and talk with him about the boys. I have been going by twice a week to pick them up for visitation, but I want to work towards seeing them more. I know they’ve forgiven me for what happened, but knowing that I hurt them is the worst pain I have ever suffered. Still, it has been good spending this time with them. The more I see them, the more time I want with them. Even if things with Adam are over, I still have my sons. I need to put more energy into being their mom. Brady and Devan deserve no less than a dedicated mom, I will find my way back to myself. I will do whatever I have to do in order to do just that.
First things first, I am going to call Dan and Kelly to make plans with them and of course, I hope to be able to find a way to reach Adam. It’s been too long and I know they’ve been pretty worried about me lately. I really miss talking with Kelly; we used to talk all the time. And I even find myself missing Dan’s quirky sense of humor. They have been such great friends, sticking by me through everything. I really am blessed; I’d just been too consumed by grief to see that. Well, here goes nothing, I think to myself as I start dialing their number.
“Hello?” a tired voice says.
“Kelly? Are you okay?” I ask with concern, she sounds pretty out of it.
“Yeah, just didn’t sleep well last night. Tori, is that you?” Kelly asked in a bewildered tone.
“Yeah, it’s me. I know it’s been a long time I’ve called and this might be short notice, but I was wondering if you and Dan would like to come over for dinner tomorrow evening. I miss you guys and would really love it if the two of you could make it.” I rushed.
“I don’t think we have any plans, but hold on a moment while I ask Dan to make sure.” Kelly practically smiled through the phone.
Kelly held the phone away from her ear and called out to her husband, “Hey dear, Tori is on the phone and she wants us to come over for dinner tomorrow. Do we have anything going on tomorrow or can we make it?” she asked.
“We don’t have anything planned that I can think of, go ahead and tell her that we’ll be there as long she’s not making that duck dish she made the last time.” Dan said and then laughed loudly.
Before Kelly could say anything, I interrupted her, “Tell him no duck. I am going to make that baked chicken and rice dish I’m so famous for.” I rolled my eyes and laughed.
“That sounds good, Tori. I am really glad you called and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Do you need us to bring anything? We could pick up some rolls or maybe a bottle of wine?” Kelly offered.
“A bottle of Chardonnay would be nice actually.” I replied.
“No problem, we have a few bottles just sitting here actually. What time do you want us to come over tomorrow?” Kelly asked.
“Hmm, 6:30 ought to be just fine. This will give me time to wash up after work and get things started.” I said.
“Sounds great, we will see you at 6:30 then.” Kelly’s grin practically shone through the phone.
“Till then, take care and give my love to Dan as well.” I smiled.
“Will do, sweetie. We love you too.” Kelly said and then hung up.
I closed my cell phone and smiled to myself. I am so excited to see Kelly and Dan tomorrow. The last time that I saw them, I wasn’t the best of company. It will be nice to spend time with them and have it feel like old times.
Hmm, so now what? Lately on Sundays, I’d just spent most of the day picking up the house and reading. But, I feel like doing something outside of the house right now. I put my hand on the kitchen counter and tap my foot, trying to think of what I want to do. Maybe I should stop at some stores and see what I can find in the way of new décor and then pick up what I need for dinner tomorrow. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. Determined, I walk upstairs to get ready to get a real start to my day.
I stand in front of my closet, trying to figure out what to wear. For the first time in awhile, I actually care about what I look like. I’m only going shopping and not trying to impress anyone, but I want to put some effort into my appearance today. Shifting hangers in the closet, I stop at my dark green baby-doll shirt. Hmm, I haven’t worn this in a long time; I wonder if it still fits. I pull off my pajama top and toss it in the hamper and then take the baby-doll shirt off the hanger and slip it over my head. I walk over to my vanity mirror and look at my reflection. I turn side to side, examining my figure. It actually looks nice, I think I will wear this with my favorite jeans. After spending ten minutes debating on which shoes to wear and picking out a belt, I decide I’m done in my room and head to the bathroom. I put on deodorant, brush my teeth, work through the knots in my messy hair and pull the front back with my silver butterfly barrette, and then look in the mirror on the door to fully assess my appearance. Hmm, not too bad, guess I clean up decently. I laugh at myself a moment and then head downstairs to grab my purse, keys, and cell phone.
Walking to the car, I notice a little white kitten near the passenger side rear tire. It looks scared and upon closer observation, like it’s been attacked. I approach my car slowly, the kitten suddenly looks in my direction. I thought it would run away, but it just stayed there watching me. I crouch down and hold out my hand to it. As I get near enough to touch it, it backs up a little. I stop, but I keep my hand out. After a few minutes, the kitten moves toward my hand and smells it. Then the kitten looks at me with its sad green little eyes and mews. I reach forward to pick it up and sure enough, the kitten has all sorts of bite marks on its legs and stomach. Looking at this frightened little thing makes me want to cry, whatever did this to the kitten really did a bang-up job. I decide to take it in the house and find an animal hospital I can take it to. This little creature needs help, I can’t just leave it out here to possibly get attacked again.
After finding a place I can take the kitten to, I head down there to see what they can do to help the poor little kitten. I walk in to the animal hospital and straight to the front desk. I see a dark haired woman who looks to be in her fifties or so reading a book. She looks bored, they must not be too busy right now.
“Excuse me? I called a little while ago about this kitten I found outside my house. Is there a way I can get it looked at? It’s in pretty bad shape.” I interrupt the woman’s trance.
She looks at me for a moment and then at the kitten I have wrapped up in a light blue towel, “I’ll need you to fill out some paperwork for me, after that I can let Dr. Crenshaw know you’re here.” She said in a tired tone of voice and then handed me some paperwork with a clipboard and pen.
“Thanks.” I walked over to the waiting area to sit down, wondering how I’d fill this all out while holding onto the kitten.
I peeked at the kitten who was sleeping in the towel, positioned the towel on my lap so the kitten wouldn’t fall and started filling out the paperwork. After what seemed like an hour, I got up with the kitten and clipboard to hand over the paperwork to the all too bored looking receptionist.
“Finished.” I tried to smile, handing her the clipboard.
“Okay, I will let the doctor know you’re here. Just sit in the waiting area, she should be out here shortly.” She said in a bit more of a friendly tone than before.
“Thanks so much.” It was easier to smile this time.
I went to sit down with the kitten; who now looked up at me as I moved the towel a bit to check on it. I really feel for the poor thing, it seems to have been through an awful lot. I wonder what attacked the kitten and why was it all alone outside? Some scenarios played through my head and after each one, I shuddered.
“Excuse me, Ms. Nichols?” The receptionist said, interrupting my thoughts.
“Oh sorry, yes?” I apologized for tuning out.
“Dr. Crenshaw is ready to take a look at the kitten now, if you’ll follow me please.” She said.
“Oh great, thanks!” I got up with the kitten, grabbed my things, and followed the lady down the hall.
We headed to the end of the hall and then she stopped at the last door on the right, she then gestured for me to go in the open door.
“She will be with you in just a moment.” She smiled a small smile and then headed back toward her desk.
I walked in and sat down on the little gray chair next to a small table that the doctor sits at and waited patiently with the kitten on my lap.